Many companies today are shifting to remote operations. This tactic allows businesses to reduce the spread of diseases, save money on utility bills and property taxes, and increase efficiency. Despite these benefits, when you work from home, you must be prepared for a range of cyber security threats. Here’s what you need to do to protect your company from hackers and scammers.

1. Identify Your Company’s Cyber Security Awareness Level

Chances are that your employees have had little to no cyber security awareness training. If they are Millennials or part of Generation Z, they probably went over cyber security a few times in high school computer classes. However, they are not equipped to handle all the threats to your company’s online security. As a business owner or executive, this is a serious concern as it leaves your financial information vulnerable to attacks.

When people have not taken cyber security training courses, they unintentionally expose your company to hackers. Behaviors as simple as employees using “password” for their work accounts endanger your sensitive data. Less commonly known problems include using the same password for multiple accounts, sending confidential information through email, and staying signed in on shared computers.

Thankfully, the solution to these problems is simple. Send out a quiz or survey to find out what your employees already know about cyber security. Then, provide regular training with the help of professionals[1]  to address any gaps.

2. Invest in Zero-Trust Systems

Having to reenter your password or credentials every time you sign into a site is annoying. However, automatic identity checks, also known as zero-trust systems, are crucial to keeping your information safe. Although these frameworks tend to be pricier than less secure platforms, it is a necessary investment     for anyone with employees working from their personal networks.

3. Consolidate Your Work Platforms

When you move your operations online, you begin to use more Internet-based platforms without thinking about it. You send emails from your Outlook or Gmail account, send mass texts through GroupMe and WhatsApp, and hold meetings over Zoom. In addition, you store customer data, handle sales, and update product information on your company’s website and other CRM tools. Each of these sites presents a possible avenue for cybercriminals to access your information.

To reduce your weaknesses, consolidate your platforms as much as possible. For example, use your Google account for both email and videoconferencing. Consider using your company’s interface to send messages to each other rather than external texting apps.

4. Optimize Your System for Mobile Use

Even if your employees have company-issued laptops, they’re probably also going to conduct some business on their cell phones. From checking a price during a sales call to verifying a customer’s information, smartphones are too accessible for your employees to resist. As a result, you must ensure that your system is just as secure over a mobile phone as on a computer. Cybercriminals are frequently using texting platforms to conduct phishing with some groups also targeting entire apps to gain users’ login information.

To address these problems, remind your employees to be vigilant about which mobile apps they use and ask them to report suspicious messages. Phishing attempts often appear to come from a trusted source but can contain these key problems:

  • Misspellings of common words
  • Requests for passwords or credit card information
  • Unusual symbols and emojis
  • Unfamiliar diction

5. Invest in Your IT Department

Your information technology department works nonstop to ensure that your company’s information stays safe. However, you’re likely not investing enough to make this team as successful as possible.     . Give your IT manager a budget for specialist training, and defer to his or her judgment on what programs are appropriate. Ask your IT members what developments they’re learning about and encourage them to try new platforms. Think of this team as the security officers for your web communications. As you rely more on the cloud for your work, you must invest more money to protect its interfaces.

These five steps are not short-term solutions to your problems; they address the root of your cyber security issues. As a result, they require investments of your time and money. However, if you want to successfully conduct most of your operations remotely, you must be willing to increase your online protection. Otherwise, you risk making your and your customers’ information vulnerable to cyber attacks.